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Trump: Macron asked for my approval to invite Iran’s Zarif for talks

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U.S. President Donald Trump said French President, Emmanuel Macron, asked for his approval before inviting Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, for talks on the sidelines of the G7.

Zarif’s brief stay in the resort town of Biarritz came as Macron stepped up efforts to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran that the U.S. has abandoned, adding to escalating tensions in the Gulf.

“I knew he was coming in,’’ Trump said.

“President Macron asked my approval.’’

The president stressed he had a good relationship with Macron.

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“I knew everything he was doing and I approved everything he was doing.’’

“I said if you want to do that, that’s Ok, I don’t consider that disrespectful at all,’’ Trump told reporters.

He said the time was not yet right to meet directly with Iran and declined to say if he had sent Zarif a message through France.

“Let Iran be rich again,’’ Trump said.

“Iran really has a chance to really build themselves up and be a really great nation.

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“They have to stop terrorism.’’

In Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rowhani backed the effort for more diplomacy, saying that “if it’s clear to me that a meeting could help solve the problems of the Iranian people, then I would certainly do it’’.

He defended Zarif’s trip to Biarritz, saying that achieving 20 per cent of what Iran wants was “better than nothing’’.

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Speculation is widespread in Iran that a meeting between Rowhani and Trump could be set for the UN General Assembly meeting in New York next month, which both are due to attend. (dpa/NAN)

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